Hong Kong travel risks soar

BANGKOK, 30 July 2019:  Usually travel advisories are criticized for being too harsh, but a report in the Star, a Canadian media outlet, a group of students called on the Canadian government to raise its Hong Kong travel alert a notch.

The call came as protests in Hong Kong continued after eight straight weeks with last weekend hundreds of protests spilling over into Hong Kong’s international airport.

Hong Kong residents are marching for democratic reforms and the withdrawal of an extradition bill that has now been suspended.

They also are calling for the Hong Kong leaders to take responsibility for a mob attack on protesters at an MRT a week earlier.

The Vancouver Hong Kong Political Activists (VHKPoActs) made up of Canadian students demanded  the government raise the risk level in its travel advisory to Hong Kong  to “exercise a high degree of caution” up from “take normal security precautions.”

The group’s leader told the Star changing the advisory would “ensure all the Canadian citizens are safe, (and) to warn them about what’s happening in Hong Kong right now.”

More countries are now either issuing travel warnings or raising the alert level in response to eighth consecutive weekends of protests.

Hong Kong is often depicted as one of the safest cities in the world to visit, but that reputation is now in tatters.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who are now wearing protective headgear and organising teams who douse tear gas canisters with water to reduce the impact.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken over streets near Sai Wan and Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island, the BBC reported on Monday.

Hundreds of police blocked the protesters from reaching the Chinese liaison office that has been fortified with plastic barricades and a Chinese government emblem above the front door has been covered with a plastic shield, Reuters news agency reported.

In a statement released late Monday, China condemned the recent anti-government protests in Hong Kong as “horrendous incidents” that have caused “serious damage to the rule of law”.

A spokesman for China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO), Yang Guang, condemned what he called the “evil and criminal acts committed by the radical elements” in Hong Kong.

“We call on the general public of Hong Kong to be aware of the grave nature of the current situation,” he said at the news conference,” the BBC reported.

“Although authorities in Beijing have condemned the protests and reiterated their support for Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam on several occasions, Monday’s intervention is widely seen as conveying the official views of China’s top leadership on the civil unrest for the first time,” the BBC stated.